News Article

Braben: Many Wii Owners Don't Realise They Can Go Online

Posted by Damien McFerran

LostWinds developer admits that the situation is improving, though

Frontier boss David Braben has stated that he believes many Wii owners aren't even aware of their console's connectivity.

Braben, who is currently putting the finishing touches to the LostWinds sequel Winter of the Melodias, had this to say:

With online on Wii, it is gradually improving. There are a lot of people out there who don't realize it is even possible, and that the wireless network is built in - you don't have to buy anything separate. People buy it often for a specific game, whether it's Wii Fit or something like that, and see it as a Wii Fit device, and then only later realize, oh I can play other stuff on this.

However, Braben thinks Nintendo's new Ambassador Programme will change this:

World of mouth does that. Friends, particularly the playground, will help a lot, especially when there's 500 free points for everyone you can bag! It's not going to be overnight. The Ambassador Programme is going to help a lot. People are already starting to connect.

It's true with all consoles, on average it's fewer than 50 per cent are online, maybe Xbox is slightly higher. But it's interesting with time the percentage with Xbox has fallen. It's not risen. But the numbers have risen. It's those numbers that matter.

It's quite obvious, the reason the percentages have fallen is as with the PS2 generation, where the early adopters are often core gamers like you and I, that then spreads to a lot more people who, to be honest, don't want the fiddle of connecting it up, until they realise, oh, cool, free stuff! I'll sign up after all.

Speaking of LostWinds, you can read our exclusive interview with Braben here.


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User Comments (32)



Omega said:

What? The Wii can go online? That is amazing! Why doesn't someone tell me that before? I always thought: What's all the fuss about that WiiWare-thing?



MrPinguy said:

Considering that a big part of Wii user base are people new to videogames, this situation is pretty normal.
Help spread the love people ^^



Stevie said:

Having a gaming console connected online is still a relatively new concept to a lot of people, but the new incentive from Nintendo EU has effectively turned me into a Nintendo rep, I would like to see Nintendo NA follow suit soon, it can only benefit everybody.



Link79 said:

I have a brother who has a Wii and he doesn't really seem to care about getting it set up for online use. I told him it had the ability and he should get it online but all he uses it for is Wii sports. He's more into PS3. He doesn't know what he's missing.



JimLad said:

They should give away a free NES game (of your choosing) with every console. People can't resist claiming something for free, and then BAM! they're online.



odd69 said:

Yea thats kinda goofy.I knew before i even bought it,that there was wi-fi. People also don't Google and find information on things. You'd think in this this day and age of computers people would learn to use the search function



eripmav said:

An old couple I know didn't realise until I told them last week that they could go online with theirs! So I daresay a large percentage of the people "not in the know" are the higher age end of Nintendo's market.



Djungelurban said:

There's fuss being made about WiiWare? Sure haven't seen it. It's not like it's being advertized to the public really.



blackknight77 said:

I know some Wii owners who don't use online. There just not getting some of the best features with the system if you ask me. I mentioned some of the things you can download online but they still have not connected it yet. Their loss



Stuffgamer1 said:

Nobody bothers to read their console manuals...or even pay attention to the bloody system menu! Y'know...the one with the Shop, Weather, and News Channels on it? It's truly sad how oblivious many people are. I'll suggest someone download something at Gamestop (often when they ask for Tetris or a poker game on Wii), and they'll be all like "I can do that?" They don't even pay any attention to the Nintendo Points cards on display right next to the controllers, or wonder what they're for. Pathetic.

Still, it's my job to educate, and I'm doing what I can. New thing in my store is a list of recent download releases (updated weekly by yours truly) which is kept near the registers for informational purposes. The idea is to sell more points cards, of course, but if that gets more people online, all's the better, right?



blackknight77 said:

More Gamestops should do that since so many parents are there with their kids. They might find something they want. That's a good idea. Go forth and spread the word to all the nations



Stevie said:

If I worked in a videogame shop in the UK, i would be telling customers I do home visits to set up their Wii online so I could earn myself all those free game downloads Customer service at its best



nintendoduffin said:

I honestly don't get how people can own the console yet be so oblivious, I can understand not being able to configure a wifi network because to the laymen it is confusing but to not even know it can be done. Don't they wonder what the shop, weather and news channels are?
I guess I've just got a curious mind so that's why I can't understand it, it's like at work when the lottery terminal received a firmware upgrade and buttons with LD1 through LD4 appeared on the screen to make it quicker to print off lucky dips (random number combinations), so many people still do it the old and time consuming way because they don't know what these buttons do but the very first thing I did when I saw them was I pressed them to see what they did.



Ryuuga said:

A friend of mine was sad because he got DSi and he had no games and here in Brazil they are very expensive. Later I told him about DSiWare and now he is having fun with a few games!
But it's interesting that he didn't know anything about the online shop. I guess people should read more the instruction booklets.



thewiirocks said:

I'm constantly frustrated by coworkers who have Wiis but won't connect them to the internet. "Too lazy" is pretty much the reason. Yet they'll spend tons of time configuring their PS3s or 360s for internet access. Drives me up a wall.



Not only new gamers doesn't know that the wii can connect. I did showed my VC games to some friends and they asked me how I installed them because they thought they were illegal roms. When I show them the Wii shop channel and the Nintendo channel they were surprised...and we are talking about 20-30 year old gamers!



The truth is that many gamers doesn't read instructions booklets or even surf the web about videogames in general. Most of them just base their experiences in what friends and family do. Is a lack of culture worldwide.



ODOGG618 said:

Wow, Nintendo is offering up a sales job that actually pays less than my mine! They really are the devil.



Malouff said:

People may not be going online because they don't have a Wireless Access Point in their homes.

I do wish Nintendo would have added support for a Ad-Hoc network to the Wii as it would have lowered the start-up costs of getting Wireless access and made it easier for other people to connect.

Another reason for more people not going online may also be that typical broadband access is not available everywhere.

So when you are out in the sticks your choices are either expensive satellite or a cellular mobile USB high speed modem.
Nintendo also lists these types of devices as unsupported.

Probably because how would a person share these connections.
If you already have wireless most likely you can only share a Ad-Hoc network that the Wii does not support. Also most cheap wireless routers can't connect to the USB device.

Not only that but Nintendo has discontinued there WiFi USB key that would create a virtual access point.

So I guess next step to try and look for another WiFi USB key that can create the virtual access point needed to connect. Most of these software access point devices are not sold in stores and people don't know that much about them.



vherub said:

I continue to bang the drum for incentives. Put a 500 wiipoints card in the box, or bundled with wiifit/music/resort.
Or work a cross promo with a tv/internet service provider. Free Wii with 2 year contract.



Ren said:

Yeah, It's ridiculous that the console doesn't include 500 free points or something and a button to direct you to the setup like when you update (the way it shuttles you to the shop channel for the upgrades). That would get every user with Wifi on immediately. It also would act as "2 games included! Wi Sports and a Nes classic of your choice from the Shopping Channel!" promotion.
True it's so simple theres no good reason why so many of the tools here won't do it, but people are just sheep especially the older non-gamers who can just drop cash on it to play sports all drunk now and again and ignore it otherwise.
I hope we get the Ambassador program here I know so many already that I could get on it.



Starwolf_UK said:

If the DSi strategy is anything to go by, Nintendo felt the 1000 free points upon connecting to the shop was a failure. If it was good they would extend it. Also they wouldn't have to pre-instal the Internet app onto the DSi as well as a "Get your Dsi online" video (like the "Get your Wii online video that comes with newer Wiis...ironically it being dated and saying the inter channel costs money might go against it...).

So they've gone for the best promotion mechanism of all; word of mouth with the ambassador program (though to me it reeks of pyramid scheme despite not having a structure of such ).

If all of that fails Nintendo will have to come to the conclusion people are just not interested rather than "they'll be interested if we make them aware of it"



thewiirocks said:

@Starwolf_UK - I disagree. I think the purpose of the program was not so much to get the systems online (WIFI usage is already high with the Nintendo DS) but rather to bootstrap their online store. Since they didn't have strong launch games, many users would have ignored it if not for their 1000 free points.

Given the amount of money it would cost Nintendo once people started buying third party games rather than Nintendo's repackaged demos, they didn't want the program to run any longer than necessary. Nintendo would only have extended the program if they felt it was less successful than they anticipated.



Lotice-Paladin said:

To be honest. I didn't even know you could get online with the PS2 back then...and only just realised I could do wireless connections at the beginning of this console generation. I understand why some people won't/can't do it though. Some people believe that wireless costs more or they have to get a seperate broadband package but it's starting to become more and more mainstream now that those people now think "So it doesn't cost anymore? Wow!" This helps particularly to the 30-50 age demographics out there .

It all depends when and if people want to get online with their consoles as the guy says...people will only go on if they feel it's something they'd like to do or if something interests them so that they will use it. I'd say the Xbox made this successful by offering more then just movie streaming and such. I know that if you show someone that you can rent a movie on the Xbox and offer them to pick a movie then they might just be interested in doing this, a bit of a poor example I know but everyone has their reasons why they want to get their console online. I, for one just like to play VC games on the Wii.



RJay said:

The XBox Live has numerous incentives for going online, not just movie streaming, but a real online community filled with people you can interact with during the game. If only it had Nintendo games, it might be perfect.



SmaMan said:

Or better yet, give the Wii a real online community. It already has the Nintendo games!

Even I, a core gamer, found the way to setup the Wii for online a little confusing. Some routers like the ones I have just aren't compatible or you need to change up their settings. I didn't give up on mine, but some new gamers would get easily deterred. Nintendo should probably put the error solutions on the console itself instead of giving you a code to put on a website... on the internet that might not be working in the first place!!

As far as friend-codes, most new gamers are used to Instant Messengers like AIM and MSN, and the friend code process is needlessly confusing where both people put in friend codes and hope they eventually get recognized. No friend request notification or anything...



astarisborn94 said:

Of course we all know that, but the online is free, so why don't people use the online? It's still decent.

We can only hope Nintendo does something about this in North America.



tigah said:

I know for myself it was the lack of a broadband connection, but typically people are still just wanting to see what else a console can do. For the 1st time user, no they may not know or just be intimidated by the tech. 1st time user btw.



Ren said:

good point. Mine happened to be easy, and I use it for the free content and downloading games but anyone with problems or trying to play with "friends" online, it's ridiculously confusing. I don't play online at all with people I know, it's so hard to get confirmation or figure anything out, I can't see anyone who isn't a "gamer" trying to find friends to play with online.



StarDust4Ever said:

I have an aunt who lives in the country and has never used a computer or internet before, but has satellite and knows how to set up the DVR to record stuff when she's not around. In fact, she was learning to use the Satellite DVR before we got her first DVD player (Christmas present one year from us). So it's not improbable that somebody in some corner of the world is playing a Wii who doesn't even know what a computer is. The NES existed long before widespread Internet access was available. Also, Nintendo created the Wiimote for people everywhere who've never played video games. A Playstation or Xbox controller would feel very strange in such a person's hands, but a TV remote is natural. You can't expect a complete novice to know the difference between X, O, Square, and Triangle. Just hold it like you would a TV remote. Point at TV and hit A button. Hey look, if I flail my arms around, magic happens on the screen

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